UK

Soldiers Avoid Jail For Brutal Attack Caught On CCTV - 'Devil' Stomped On Victim's Head 18 Times

24/04/2015 18:54 BST | Updated 24/04/2015 18:59 BST

Two soldiers caught on camera brutally beating two men and stomping one grounded victim 18 times, have not only avoided jail - but they've also kept their jobs.

Shaun Smith, 25, and Jason Collins, 22, carried out the assaults near their barracks at Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire, after a heavy drinking session.

CCTV footage, described by a police officer as the most violent he had seen in "10 years" on the force, shows one of the victims lying unconscious on the road while the pair chase down the other man, before punching him to the ground and stomping on him.

soldiers assault

Soldiers Jason Collins and Shaun Smith were caught on camera attacking two men, but avoided being sent to jail over the incident

Smith stomps 18 times on one of the victims while Collins rains punches down on him.

Judge Jamie Hill QC spared the men jail time and said he hoped they would continue their careers in the Army.

The court was told that despite the shocking nature of the assault, both men were of good character and the Army was keen to keep them.

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Soldiers spared jail after assault caught on CCTV

Pleading for mercy, Richard Herrmann, defending Smith, said: "He's an angel but on that night he was a devil."

The court heard the trust the Army had in the men had not diminished and that Collins had since been stationed to guard Buckingham Palace.

Two of their superior officers attended the hearing and told the court they wanted the two defendants to return to work.

Smith, a guardsman with the Scots Guards, and Collins, a Welsh Guardsman, claimed they were provoked before the assaults took place.

Teesside Crown Court heard the pair had been out drinking into the early hours last April, when they realised they were unable to return to their barracks.

The duo then came across the civilian victims, James Wormald and Mark Thompson. The soldiers claim the pair then said something that provoked the attack.

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What followed was described by Judge Hill as "a deeply unpleasant and inexcusable incident".

Regarding the victim who was stomped on, he said: "Whatever caused it to erupt, he was causing no threat at that stage and it's a major surprise he suffered no more than bruising and was able to get up and see if his friend was all right."

Sentencing both men for committing actual bodily harm, Judge Hill said the pair had expressed a considerable degree of remorse.

"What I have done is entirely exceptional. I cannot say what the Army will do but I express the hope that the Army feels able to keep you," he said.

Smith was given a 12-month sentence suspended for 12 months and was ordered to complete 80 hours of unpaid work and pay £1,000 in compensation.

Collins was given a 12-month community order and also told pay £1,000 in compensation.

After the sentencing, Detective Constable Andy Palmer said: "This is the most violent piece of CCTV footage I have seen in 10 years as a police officer and it is extremely fortunate that the victims in this case were not more seriously injured.

"This case highlights the horrors of alcohol-fuelled violence and is even more shocking given that the defendants were, up until this incident, of good character.

"I hope that people watch this footage and realise just what can happen if they do not stay in control when they are out drinking."

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